The Right Time to Downsize is Now
April 12, 2017
Contributed by Mary Meier, Fellowship Senior Living
According to AARP, most older adults will choose to remain in their homes for the rest of their lives. But whether you stay or move, there are reasons why you should downsize and de-clutter now.
Reorganizing your prized posessions and discarding those that are no longer meaningful allows you to access the treasures you keep more easily. If you decide to move to a smaller home or retirement community later on, you will have reduced your workload a bit by removing non-essential items in advance.
Downsizing creates a safer home environment. A fall in the home can seriously impair your mobility. Removing clutter from your living spaces reduces tripping hazards. If you do become disabled as you age in place, your home will be better suited to your needs.
Be considerate of your heirs, who will oversee the disposal of your belongings. Just as keeping your will updated is critical, downsizing now protects your loved ones from facing a very difficult task. Have frank conversations with them about possessions you wish to pass on to them. You may find that no one is interested in your best china.
Where to begin? Most of us don't look forward to hours of sorting through our belongings. This is especially true of older adults who've lived in their homes for decades. Your home is full of memories and a lifetime's accumulation of stuff.
A common piece of advice is to tackle the job in small steps and find what works best for you. For instance, work in one room at a time, clean out one drawer at a time, set a time limit of ten minutes or one hour at a time. You get the idea. The key is to be flexible to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Another tip is to work with three boxes or three piles to Keep, Discard and Donate/Sell. If you're indecisive or have physical limitations, ask for help. Sometimes it's good to have someone nearby who isn't emotionally attached to your belongings.
Consider hiring a professional organizer. An objective point of view can help you answer the question, "Do I really need to keep this?" An organizer will do the "heavy lifting" such as sorting, packing and preparing items for sale or donation.
One more thing to remember as you begin the task of downsizing the possessions of a lifetime...Your memories will always be with you, wherever you go.
How Flexible Are You?
March 13, 2017
Contributed by Carole Clausen, Fellowship Senior Living, Personal Trainer
Staying physically active is important for maintining a fit and healthy lifestyle, and flexibility is a key component that contributes to physical fitness and well-being.
Flexibility relates to the amount of movement or range of motion available to each joint. Some joints are designed to have only a little movement, while others are designed to have a lot of movement. Joint motion allows us to reach above our heads and bend down to pick something up from the floor. Good range of motion enables us to be more mobile; it supports balance and may reduce risk of falling.
Flexibility is also related to muscle length. Muscles need to be certain lengths in order to achieve full range of motion. Most muscles provide movement around a single joint; however some enable movement around two joints. For example, the hamstring muscles on the back of the thighs work to bend the knee and extend the hip. If the hamstring muscles are shortened or tight, the range of motion for those joints is limited.
Stretching is the best way to enhance flexibility. Proper stretching, especially when completed 2 to 3 times a week, can help avoid muscle cramping and loss of motion around a joint, improve prosture, and promote physical and mental relaxation.
Stretching programs should include the major muscle groups of the arms and and legs. Plan to stretch the calves, hips, thighs, lower back, neck and shoulders.
Proper technique is crucial for successful stretching. If your body is not positioned correctly, the target muscle may not be activated. Here are some stretching tips:
- Stretch to the point of tension and never to a point of pain. It may slightly uncomfortable, but not painful.
- Wait for an injured joint to heal before starting a stretching program.
- Hold your stretch for 10 seconds and avoid bouncing.
- Don't forget to breath throughout the stretch.
- Slowly release the stretch and allow the muscles to relax.
Staying Strong, Fit and Independent in 2017
January 30, 2017
Contributed by Carole Clausen, Fellowship Senior Living Personal Trainer
Adults over age 65 can greatly benefit from making healthy resolutions; especially those that help prevent illness and injury. Carole Clausen, personal trainer for the Rehab and Wellness program at Fellowship Village, offers these tips for making healthy lifestyles changes:
Participate in cognitive health activities. As we age, it’s important to keep our mind engaged and stimulated with mind boosting activities. This year, try joining a book club, schedule fun game nights with family and friends, or simply do a daily crossword puzzle. Take time and make an effort to learn and try new things.
Exercise or start a new physical activity. Exercise needn’t be exhausting or feel like work. Seek out strength and balance training in classes geared toward older adults like Tai Chi, water aerobics, chair exercises and other forms of group exercise. Start a walking regimen in your neighborhood or at the local mall. When watching television, get up and move during every commercial break. Even small actions can be beneficial.
Eat a healthier diet. Eating well is just as important as exercising. While processed foods are easy to throw together for a meal, they come with a host of health issues and concerns. Vow to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll soon see a noticeable difference in how you look and feel.
Make your home safer. Take some time to assess your home objectively. Is the lighting adequate? Do you have throw rugs that are tripping hazards? Are outside steps in good repair? Is it time to install grab bars in the bathrooms? If you’re not sure, contact a professional service provider to evaluate your home and recommend changes to make it safe.
Seek professional support. The Rehab and Wellness team at Fellowship Village develops activities and services for older adults who seek fitness and well-being. Our experts guide seniors to fulfill their potential through individually tailored programs that are available to Fellowship Village residents and the general public.
Navigate Your Next Move With These Home Selling Tips
January 27, 2017
Mary Meier, Fellowship Senior Living
Selling a cherished home and moving to a new location can be one of life's most stressful transitions. It's often a stumbling block for seniors who are planning the next chapter of their lives. However, a few tips and the right resources can minmize stress and help your move go more smoothly.
- Find an experienced real estate agent.
Interview up to three agents from companies that focus on your neighborhood.
Review each agent's selling strategy. Online marketing with photos is essential.
Understand the agent's contract before signing.
- Get real about pricing.
Ask your agent for the sale prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood.
Be realistic about your home's value.
Trust your agent's opinion.
- Understand the competition.
Visit local open houses and do a "real estate reality check."
Remember, buyers who look at your home will look at others in your neighborhood.
- Prepare your home.
Consider a home inspection to avoid surprises later.
Make as many repairs as possible. If in doubt, consult your agent.
De-personalize your home. Remove family photos, religious decor, etc.
Remove heavy drapes and valances; replace with light curtains.
Wash windows inside and outside.
Replace low wattage light bulbs with brighter bulbs.
Fresh paint in neutral colors appeals to buyers.
If practical, remove carpeting to show off hardwood floors.
Remove excess furniture and up to half the contents of bookshelves and closets.
- Don't ignore your home's exterior. First impressions count.
Clean up the yard and landscaping.
Freshly painted railings, front door and porches will stand out.
If needed, replace exterior light fixtures.
Create a well-lit and welcoming entrance.
- Be available for selling agents.
Access to your home is critical. Beware of limiting your availability.
Keep your home neat and presentable at all times.
As you prepare your home for sale, don't hesitate to call on other professionals who can help. Your real estate agent may have useful recommendations for service providers.
A great "one-stop" option is consulting with a senior relocation service. These experts can help with numerous tasks related to your move, such as decluttering, discarding or donating unwanted belongings, packing, coordinating an estate sale, unpacking, helping with furniture placement in your new location, and so much more.
When you choose Fellowship Village as your next home, our senior living counselors will be ready and waiting with tips and resources to help you navigate your way to a new life. Don't let fear about "making the move" keep you from moving forward.